What To Do When Your Work Overalls Split

Fibers are the basic components of textile fabrics. Every skilled tailor should know this information.
Each type of fiber has unique characteristics that it imparts to fabrics made from it. Although a fiber’s character can be altered by yarn structure and by fabric construction and finish, the original characteristics are still evident in the resulting fabric and are central to its use and care.
Before the twentieth century, all fibers used for cloth were from natural sources such as the cotton plant. In the twentieth century, a host of synthetic fibers appeared on the market, products of the chemical industry. The term “man-made” refers to all fibers not found naturally; it covers both synthetic fibers (made from chemicals such as petroleum) and fibers such as rayon, made in the laboratory from cellulose, a natural product. Whether a fiber is natural or manmade has some bearing on its general characteristics. Natural fibers — plant fibers Cotton is strong even when wet, absorbent, shrinks unless treated, creases, and is comfortable to wear. Most cottons can be laundered, colorfast ones in hot water, others in warm or cold water, and dried in the clothes dryer or ironed while damp. Cotton can be mercerized to make it smoother, shinier, and stronger. Some is pre-treated to give it easy-care qualities.
Linen, made from flax, is very strong and absorbent, creases unless treated, and is very comfortable in hot weather. It should be washed at lower temperatures to minimize shrinkage. Pre-shrunk linen can be washed in hot water. When used for tailored garments, it should be dry-cleaned.
Ramie is not as strong as linen but increases in strength when wet. It is highly absorbent and wrinkles easily. It can be dry-cleaned or laundered, depending on the care instructions. It tolerates hot water and its smooth lustrous appearance improves with washing. Animal fibers
Wool comes from the fleece of sheep (labeled lambs-wool, cool wool, merino wool, pure wool) and from the hair of other animals such as camels, goats
(mohair, cashmere and cashgora), alpacas, llamas and vicunas, and angora rabbits. Wool is durable, highly absorbent, crease resistant, and holds in body heat well. Wool should be dry-cleaned or washed in cool water up to 86 °F (30 °C). Some wools can be machine-washed. Never dry in the clothes-dryer.
Press at a low temperature using a damp cloth.
Silk, produced by the silk-worm, is strong, absorbent, crease resistant, and holds in body heat. It should be either dry-cleaned or washed by hand. Iron a silk garment inside-out at a low temperature setting. Man-made fibers — cellulose and chemical fibers Rayon or viscose is relatively weak, very absorbent, shrinks, and wrinkles unless treated. Sometimes it should be dry-cleaned, sometimes it can be machine-washed on the delicate cycle. Iron at a moderate setting using steam or a damp cloth.
Acetate is lustrous, moderately absorbent, wrinkles somewhat, holds body heat, and is heat-sensitive. Wash by hand or using the delicate cycle of the washing machine. Do not dry in the clothes-dryer. Iron all acetates at synthetic setting; they melt at high heat.
Acrylic fiber is fluffy but absorbs water poorly. Acrylic resists wrinkles, is heat-sensitive, and holds in body heat. It is popular in blends with wool and cotton. Wash at 86 °F (30 °C). Iron at a low setting.
Nylon is very strong, has a low absorbency, holds in body heat, and resists wrinkling. It does not shrink. Wash either by hand or machine-wash using the delicate cycle. Iron at a low temperature without steam.
Polyester is strong, not very absorbent, keeps its shape well, and wrinkles little. Holds creases well. Wash by machine or by hand. Spin very lightly or drip dry. May need little or no ironing; use low setting.
Microfibers (mainly polyester) are soft, strong, water-resistant, and breathe well. Machine-washable. Care symbols
The care symbols shown at right are those commonly used on clothes labels. If you are unsure of the meaning of a symbol, consult your dry-cleaner or tailor.

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